Writer: Micheal Bicek
To De’Angela Mathis, a Florida State College at Jacksonville women’s basketball standout and student athlete, ball is life. Mathis is willing to go as far as basketball will take her while also getting an education in the process.
“I don’t have a favorite team or a favorite player, I just love to get better,” said Mathis when asked who she draws inspiration from at the professional level. Whether it’s on the court or in the classroom, Mathis’ determination to be a better version of herself is the epitome of what a student athlete should represent.
Growing up in Bradenton, Florida, Mathis began her basketball journey in middle school and has practiced almost every day since. She has a winning attitude that’s carried her since grade school. Her high school team, Southeast High School (also in Bradenton, FL) won the coveted women’s state championship during the 2013-14 basketball season.
Mathis, wearing number 23 is currently a scoring machine. Playing primarily the Forward position, Mathis averages almost 12 (11.6) points per game for the Blue Wave in pursuit of a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship. With a new coach in place, Coach John McGraw, Mathis is confident that the sky’s the limit.
“I just know I have to work for what I want and get better, and he allows me to do that” said Mathis referring to her new coach. But Mathis’ work ethic doesn’t stop with basketball, it can also be seen in the classroom.
Mathis’ is a physical therapy major who eventually wants to pursue her doctorate and engrain herself in the world surrounding sports. The one-on-one interaction with instructors that students receive is one of her favorite things about FSCJ.
“Teachers are willing to help as much as they can, so it feels a lot like home,” said Mathis. The idea of excelling in education while playing the sport she loves is a no-brainer.
Mathis might seem like someone that has it all figured out but truth be told, no one really does. It’s her attitude and sheer will to better herself, through school and sport, that makes her window for success substantially bigger.